#5a - Long Arm Reservoir
Property Manager: Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (814) 643-1831 and Hanover Borough (717) 637-3877
GPS address: Long Arm Reservoir Boat Launch: 55 Grand Valley Rd, Hanover, PA 17331
Hours: Open daily 5 am- 9 pm
Parking: At Long Arm there are four parking areas along Grand Valley Road. There is a parking area by the dam on Westminster Road near the Adams County Line. There are locations where pulling off along the road nearest the lake is acceptable. Please use good judgment. The access farthest south is for elderly and handicapped. This access is near where the creek flows into the reservoir. This access is only about 1 mile from the PA-Maryland State Line.
Restrooms: The mentioned four parking areas at Long Arm each have a portable toilet. The parking area at Sheppard-Myers on Impounding Dam Road has a portable toilet.
Safety Reminders: Please abide by all posted rules and be safe around the dam and dam breast. Do not enter posted areas, and do not park in “no parking areas” or block boating ramps.
Best Birding: All seasons, dawn until dusk.
Site Description: This area managed by the Fish and Boat Commission and Hanover Borough in Southwestern York County is a great birding location all year round. In addition to its popularity among birders and anglers, Long Arm is also quite popular with dog walkers. The open habitat, accessibility, and high hills around Long Arm give it a slight edge over Sheppard-Myers Reservoir as being more birder friendly, but being that the properties are only a short two mile drive apart a trip to one should include a check of the other if time is available.
The reservoirs attracts many waterfowl species from fall to spring. A check of the lake from the dam breast is a nice way to see the lake. In the morning from the parking areas east of Long Arm lighting conditions are perfect for finding and identifying waterfowl. A scope is recommended. Waterfowl species of interest viewed recently include Gadwall, Snow Goose, Cackling Goose, Surf Scoter, Tundra Swan, Long-tailed Duck, Red-breasted Merganser, and both species of Scaup. Common Loon is often here each migration season, and Pacific Loon was recorded here once years ago. Terns such as Caspian and Forster’s are also viewed annually or semi-annually in migration.
The grasslands at the edge of the water are good for Eastern Meadowlarks in summer and raptors all year. The surrounding agricultural lands can turn up surprises. Purple Martins are possible in this area in the warm months too, as locals have nesting boxes nearby. The edge habitats can host warblers in May. Check the pines south of the main boat launch each time. Wooded edge is habitat for many migrants.
Long Arm Creek flows into the South Branch of the Conewago Creek which is dammed further south of its confluence with Long Arm Creek at Sheppard-Myers Reservoir. Long Arm creek enters at the south end of the lake. Parking is not near but birders have been rewarded with views of Pectoral Sandpiper, Wilson Snipe, and others during shorebird migration here.